I’m sure you’ve probably read in a survival guide that if you’re ever stuck on a deserted island, NEVER DRINK SALTWATER. But let me let you in on a secret: you’re not stuck on an island, and if you take that advice, you may be missing out on the greatest secret in craft cocktails.
Why does salt make drinks taste better? Well, there are a few reasons.
Salt helps to tamper the bitterness in drinks and can help to amplify sweet and sour flavors. Devon Tarby of Los Angeles-based bar development operation Proprietors LLC had this to say in regards to salt: "Simply put, salt makes ingredients taste more like themselves," she continues. "Salt isn't just for savory cocktails, either. The addition of a small amount of salt helps brighten citrus and delicate flavors like fresh herbs and light fruits, dampens bitterness, and acts as an overall bridge between powerful booze and the more subtle, non-alcoholic ingredients we tend to mix it with." This was from an interview by our friends over at eater.com.
When mixing salt in a cocktail it also helps the aroma of the drink, and the aroma is a huge part of the tasting experience. Salt actually frees up the aromatic molecules of a drink when mixed with water, so it gives you an extra burst of flavor that the drink already has. Imagine if you could make certain that when putting cologne or perfume on, everyone got to smell it… that’s what salt does in your cocktail as well.
Our favorite aspect of salt in regards to rum, as mentioned above, is that it brightens sweet and sour flavors. Almost all of the rum cocktails out there tend to be sweet. From a daiquiri to a rum and coke, it’s no surprise that rum makes everything a bit sweeter due to its own history, but what if you could be sure that the sweetness was highlighted? That’s what salt can do in each and every drink it’s combined with, effectively making your sweet drink at the bar a bit sweeter.
Salt in Cocktails
Salt is already used in a plethora of cocktails. For example, if you’ve ever had a margarita, you’ve probably had salt on the rim. And nothing compares to having a little bit of salt on the tongue before you have the sweet taste of lime. Bloody Marys also tend to have a salty blend along the rim of the glass providing an extra dimension to the tomato juice and vodka.
This article gives a few examples of bars across the US that are adding salt to common drinks such as the Old Fashioned, the Daiquiri, and a pretty neat drink termed the Salt to Sea.
It appears as though lots of cocktails can be approved by the added level of NaCl. I mean if the chemistry is sound, and it tastes ten times better, why wouldn’t you add a pinch of salt? At least, that’s what we said when making Saltwater Woody. And it turns out, we were right...
The Salt in Saltwater Woody
A lot of people ask about the saltwater in Saltwater Woody. As it turns out, adding salt in any distilling or mixing process can be quite tricky. Do you sprinkle it in at the end? Do you add it in at the beginning? Now, obviously, we can’t give away all our secrets, but what I can tell you is that the salt in our saltwater obviously isn’t at the same concentration as the saltwater in the ocean, which is a whopping 3.5%! We definitely didn’t want our rum to taste like you accidentally swallowed a mouthful of ocean water after wiping out in a big wave.
Instead, we have a minimal amount that allows for the salt to be noticeable but not overbearing. With salt in any drink or cocktail, a little bit goes a long way. We had to have a few trial and error experiences before we had the right concentration, and we believe the amount we finished with is perfect to mix with any cocktail or even enjoy straight.
Oh, and before you ask, of course our salt is 100% American, like everything else in our bottle...